On Wednesday, Joe Biden created a new National Monument. The new monument is in Colorado. The area encompasses 53,804 acres and is well within Colorado’s ski haven, between Leadville and Red Cliff. In addition to being an integral part of the history of the indigenous people of the area, parts of the new monument served as a training ground for the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, which fought in Europe during the Second World War. A press release from the USDA quoted Agriculture Tom Vilsack:

Camp Hale and the 10th Mountain Division are unique in our military history. The men and women who served and trained in this beautiful but punishing landscape made sacrifices for our country and made their mark on the history of the free world. The stunning Camp Hale and Tenmile landscape is a recreation mecca where visitors enjoy alpine hiking, snowmobiling, skiing, camping and more – it is an honored obligation for us to protect this treasured piece of our national heritage.

This area was also home to the Ute people long before recorded history, and their unique cultural perspective and historical knowledge is critical to ensuring that we maintain this area’s many priceless characteristics for generations to come.

Oddly enough, someone in the White House and/or the USDA forgot to talk to the Ute Indian Tribe, which still very much exists, considers the monument part of its territory, and is not happy about the designation at all.

The website Indian Country Today carried the press release from the tribe. The tribe points out that it was never even consulted about the matter, excluded from the event itself. While Biden met with some tribes in the immediate area, he never met with the Ute Tribe itself, specifically with the Uncompahgre band, the band of Utes that originally occupied the area until the 1880s when it was relocated. (As someone who lived on the Ute Reservation and was once married to a tribal member, it may be helpful to explain that the tribe itself is composed of several bands, which exist to this day. Each band at one time held a specific area of land.) The Business Committee, which oversees tribal affairs, stated, “They moved forward with a monument on our homelands without including us. They talk about tribal consultation, but their actions do not match their words. We cannot support a monument on our homelands that does not include the tribe.”

The Committee added:

It is a disgrace to our ancestors to exclude the tribe in the care and protection of these burial sites. We are shocked that 200 years later, nothing has changed. This unlawful action by the President today is a desecration of our ancestors that remain buried on our homelands. Many of these Ute ancestors passed on seeking to protect these lands from further encroachment and others left us as part of the forced death march at the hands of the United States as we were moved out of Colorado at gunpoint. The Ute Indian Tribe will not stand by to accept further genocidal tactics that continue to be perpetuated against our people and our ancestors that came before us. The United States President is doing what the United States has always done and we will use all lawful measures at our disposal to stop this.

The tribe also called the move an act of genocide.

Shaun Chapoose, the Business Committee chairman, was frustrated with Biden’s move. He noted that the tribe has tried to work with the administration, which has paid scant if any attention to tribal issues. This includes the creation of the monument, of which the tribe was unaware until hours before the event. He added, “If it’s a fight they want it’s a fight they will get.”

Boundary issues are nothing new concerning the tribe, particularly around the main reservation in Ft. Duchesne, Utah. There are issues of ownership and resource management, and lawsuits, especially in terms of law enforcement jurisdiction. Further muddying the waters, the area around the reservation in the Uintah Basin is, in many cases, “checkerboarded.” This means that one parcel may belong to the tribe, the next to the state, and yet another to a private owner. In some cases, particularly where tribal land meets the National Forest, if you are not familiar with the geography or there is no signage, you may be on tribal land without even knowing it. The tribe, in recent years, has been pushing to reestablish the original reservation borders, which once extended well beyond Ft. Duchesne.

If your cultural memory includes having been forced out of the beauty of the Rocky Mountains into Utah’s high desert, Biden’s move seems like a particularly vicious kidney punch. This is driven home by a statement by Biden in 2021, quoted in the release:

My Administration is committed to honoring tribal sovereignty and including tribal voices in policy deliberation that affects tribal communities. The Federal Government has much to learn from tribal nations and strong communication is fundamental to a constructive relationship.

The above statement from the president, when taken in tandem with the quote from Vilsack about how the area was once home to the Ute people, exposes the elitist hearts of the Left. I am sure that plenty of those who are cheering the creation of the monument consider themselves sympathetic to the cause of Native Americans. They probably saw Dances with Wolves and even owned a copy on DVD. They may even own some Pendleton products to show how culturally aware they are and shake their heads and cluck their tongues over the history of maltreatment of North American tribes and the idea of greedy developers stealing the land for oil and natural gas. They certainly decry evil conservatives oppressing native minorities.

But these same people have no problem snapping up tribal land when it comes to their own hearts’ desires if they are looking for a new, exclusive place to recreate or want to assuage their guilt by purchasing indulgences to impose something on someone else. In other words, they say the right things and believe the right things. They just don’t do the right things. Their actions, coupled with the idea that people of color will naturally acquiesce to whatever is politically correct and that tribes are and should be perpetual wards of the state, make these Leftists hypocrites and utterly clueless when a tribe takes umbrage with something like this. After all, shouldn’t the tribe be thrilled that the federal government is “preserving” their land? If not, they obviously must not know what is good for them.

Oddly enough, the tribe’s stance echoes that of the Tea Party and many conservatives: the bigger the government is, and the more largesse that it provides or claims it to provide, the more decisions it will make on your behalf, with or without your consent.

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